Lucas (Corey Haim) is a smart, slight, and socially awkward 14-year-old who is viewed as an oddball by his peers in high school. During the summer, he becomes friends with Maggie (Kerri Green), a 16-year-old newcomer to the community. Lucas — a science wiz and classical music lover — takes her on nature walks and an evening date at an outdoor symphony performance. In the process, Lucas falls in love with Maggie.

Much to his dismay, when school begins she is literally swept off her feet by Cappie Roew (Charlie Sheen), the captain of the football team who convinces her to become a cheerleader. Ironically, Cappie is the only jock who doesn't mock Lucas and protects him from others who do. But the handsome athlete becomes the younger boy's opponent when he abandons his old girlfriend for Maggie. Lucas decides to go out for the football team in a desperate attempt to win her back.

Frank Zappa once quipped: "High school isn't a time or place — it's a state of mind." Director David Seltzer would agree. High school has very little to do with passing or failing one's courses; it has everything to do with being accepted by one's peers. Lucas, the outsider, tries to prove himself in the only arena that really counts: football players and cheerleaders are "in," and everyone else is "out."

Corey Haim is just right as the loner whose bad case of puppy love compels him to risk life and limb. Kerri Green is appealing as the newcomer who takes the easy road to popularity. Charlie Sheen's Cappie is a winsome individual who champions Lucas even after he's stolen his girl. In his directorial, debut, Seltzer draws out fine performances from the three lead characters and manages to make the high school rituals of muscle and pep very vivid and credible.